Threats and Stressors in progress

Otay Water District San Miguel Habitat Management Area Perimeter Fencing Restoration and Threat Reduction Project

May 2, 2023
The San Miguel Habitat Management Area (HMA) is an approximate 240-acre biological preserve and mitigation bank that was created by the Otay Water District in 1994. The HMA has recently experienced increased illegal entrance and creation of trails throughout the area. The uptick began during the pandemic when people were in search of more outdoor recreation opportunities. Mountain bikers and hikers are drawn to the surrounding USFWS refuge trail system that is open to the public. The HMA's perimeter fencing and gate locks are frequently cut by trail users illegally passing through the HMA to access between the USFWS refuge trail system and the local residential community, causing significant damage and threatening the viability of species and their habitats on the HMA including the coastal California gnatcatcher and burrowing owl. The Project will implement a variety of education-orientated and land management deterrent strategies to reduce these threats. This includes a public outreach and education campaign consisting of coordination with USFWS and SDGE; participation in local community meetings; and removal of HMA trails from apps. Deterrent efforts include installation of new gates, installation of vegetation to close off trails, installation of camera stations, and coordination with local law enforcement to implement enforcement actions.
Project Focus

Burrowing Owl, Coastal California gnatcatcher

coastal sage scrub, grassland


Amanda Gonzales; Juliana Luengas

San Diego Association of Governments

Otay Water District

Merkel & Associates

Juliana Luengas

Amanda Gonzales; Juliana Luengas

Amanda Gonzales; Gina Krantz

Project Protocol
File name Lead Author Year Type
Methods(M&A12-16-22).docx Merkel & Associates protocol supplement